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But I have found the pursuit of truth a path bristling with thorns, and beset with pitfalls.One of the chief difficulties to be met is the confusion caused by contradictory statements that no ingenuity can reconcile; and in too many cases conjecture alone is possible.This is the only explanation I have ever heard given of the disappearance of the Roll; and though I can certainly furnish no proofs in confirmation of the statement, there would seem to be no particular reason for doubting its probability.

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I have also given all the anecdotes that I could collect, partly to relieve the inherent dullness of a mere catalogue of descents, and partly because many of them incidentally furnish vivid pictures of manners and customs long since passed away. --------*-------- The famous Roll of Battle Abbey is believed to have been compiled in obedience to a clause in the Conqueror's foundation charter, that enjoined the monks to pray for the souls of those "who by their labour and valour had helped to win the kingdom." The great Sussex Abbey that was "the token and pledge of the Royal Crown," had been intended to be not only a memorial of his victory, but a chantry for the slain; and the names of his companions-in-arms, enshrined on this bede-roll, might thus be read out in the church on special occasions, and notably on the anniversary feast of St. It was most likely originally copied from the muster-roll of the Norman knights, that had been prepared by the Duke's orders before his embarkation, and was called over in his presence on the field of battle, the morning after it had been fought.

The list, thus composed, was inscribed on a roll of parchment, and hung up in the Abbey Minster, with this superscription: "Dicitur a bello 'BELLUM' locus hic, quia bello Angligenae victi sunt in morte relicti, Martyris in Christi festo cecidere Calixti. Cum pereunt Angli, Stella monstrante cometa." and the robe he had worn at his coronation, and specially bequeathed to the monks by his will.

Before the end of the century, Henry, second Abbot of Battle, cut off and sold some of the gold and silver chains and amulets of the coronation robe, to make up a sum of money that had been demanded of him by William Rufus; and the remainder of these valuables were finally disposed of by his successor, who invested the proceeds in land.

They had been gradually dropping off and disappearing—even some of the jewels of the feretory were missing, lost or "despoiled by unfortunate mischances," and it was probably judged wisest to put the rest out of the reach of temptation.

This "royal pallium was beautifully ornamented with gold and very costly gems, and three hundred amulets suitably fabricated of gold and silver, many of which were attached to chains of those metals, and contained innumerable relics of the saints;" and he also gave "a feretory in the form of an altar, in which likewise were many relics, and upon which, in his expedition, mass had been accustomed to be celebrated."—Battel Abbey Chronicle. Lower (the translator of the Chronicle) "must have been the same with those which William had, in 1065, surreptitiously introduced under the portable altar upon which he had compelled Harold to take a solemn oath to assist him in his designs upon England.

In the Bayeux Tapestry, where the scene is represented, Harold is placing his right hand upon an altar in form of a feretory." But these precious bequests were not suffered to remain untouched for more than ten years from the date of the Conqueror's death.

From being a resident at Battle Abbey, and entertaining a higher opinion than is expressed by many of my contemporaries for "the scum of Bretons and rags of France" that conquered and colonised England, I have felt an interest in the subject, and a desire to do my best, at all events, towards elucidating it.

LONDON: PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS. My only excuse for attempting it is that it has in reality been unattempted hitherto, as Sir Bernard Burke, in his commentary on Holinshed's list, has only dealt with two hundred and nine of the best-known names, passing over the remaining four hundred and twenty without notice, and Sir Egerton Brydges' brief and peremptory annotations were evidently made in haste, and refer to an imperfect copy.

Of these there are three; one published by Leland in his Collectanea, which was the first that ever appeared: another in Holinshed's Chronicle, dated 1577: and a third printed a few years later by Stowe, and afterwards copied by Duchesne, who received it from Camden.


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